AUDIENCE: Rheumatology, Gastroenterology, Oncology
ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that the Boxed Warning for the entire class of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF&alpha) blockers has been updated to include the risk of infection from two bacterial pathogens, Legionella and Listeria. In addition, the Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions sections of the labels for all of the TNF&alpha blockers have been revised so that they contain consistent information about the risk for serious infections and the associated disease-causing pathogens.
Patients treated with TNF&alpha blockers are at increased risk for developing serious infections involving multiple organ systems and sites that may lead to hospitalization or death due to bacterial, mycobacterial, fungal, viral, parasitic, and other opportunistic pathogens.
BACKGROUND: The class of TNF&alpha blockers are used to treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and/or juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
RECOMMENDATION: The risks and the benefits of TNF&alpha blockers should be considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infection and patients with underlying conditions that may predispose them to infection. See the Drug Safety Communication for a listing of recommendations for healthcare professionals and patients, as well as a data summary.
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Read the MedWatch safety alert, including a link to the FDA Drug Safety Communication here.
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